Allen Ruppersberg

Colby Sign , 2014

Installation consisting of a sign + 16 different posters

Sign: 55 x 90 cm. Each poster: 56 x 35.4 cm

Limited edition of 5 numbered and signed copies, each different. Each copy is unique

$12,000 - $35,000

mfc-michèle didier


+33 (0)1 71 27 34 41


It all begins with the end of a story, the one about the Colby Poster Printing Company that shut down in December 2012, taking with itself an emblematical graphic identity into history. A Colby poster can be easily distinguished from others and bear the stamp «from L.A.». Multicolored posters with unexpected gradients of flashy, typically Californian colors — the yellow of the sun or the beach, the green of the lush vegetation in this “West Coast” Eden, the blue of the ocean, the red or the pink of all the other wonders of this heavenly place on earth — the Colby posters, covered with outrageously bold characters, do not respect any typographical rules. These rules are mistreated, possibly by ignorance, probably on purpose; in either case it is a certain rule of the West not to follow the rules of the East.

"Colby Posters were the ultimate graphic design “ready-mades” and I think Marcel Duchamp would agree."* says Julia Luke of the Hammer Museum.

Individuals or professionals of Los Angeles entrusted the production of their communication media to the Colby printing house: announcements for school fairs, concert, political meetings, posters for films, performances or all other services. The posters were then put up on the wooden utility poles that characterized the city, as true marks of identity in the cityscape of Los Angeles. Many other artists and celebrities, such as Elvis Presly, Martin Luther King, Ed Ruscha or Eve Fowler also turned to this particular aesthetic. Allen Ruppersberg was one of their most faithful and regular customers.

When the Colby Printing Company closed its doors, Allen Ruppersberg recovered the printer's original sign, that was installed above the entrance of the factory. Based upon this yellow wooden sign, the artist decided to make an edition, entitled Colby Sign. The work consists of a small size reproduction of the Colby sign, accompanied with 16 Colby posters on which the artist laminatedphotos of the second part of the sign, the letters P O S T E R P R I N T I N G CO. Each copy of the edition is unique, as in each series the Colby posters are different.